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April 14, 1999

Electronic Information Retrieval by Physicians and Medical Librarians—Reply

Author Affiliations

Margaret A.WinkerMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Interim CoeditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 1999;281(14):1272-1273. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-281-14-jac90002

In Reply: As a medical informatics researcher and educator, I value the skills of medical librarians in teaching literature searching and at my own institution have a very good relationship with the librarians in our research and educational programs.

In keeping with an evidence-based perspective, however, I must clarify some of Ms Killoran's points. She is correct that the source of end-user training was not clearly stated in our article. This is because most of the studies included in the systematic review did not indicate who did the training. In the study of searching performance cited in the review that came from my institution,1 training in searching was not done by librarians, but rather by a medical informatics specialist with strong training in information retrieval and other pertinent areas. Killoran's assertion that "end users who train other end users lack the professional expertise necessary to assume the role of quality end-user trainers" is not backed by any studies I am aware of, even though it is probably true in most instances.